22.3.16

Reading the Highland Villager #151

[Basically the problem is that the best source of Saint Paul streets & sidewalks news is the Highland Villager, a very fine and historical newspaper. This wouldn't be a problem, except that its not available online. You basically have to live in or frequent Saint Paul to read it. Until this newspaper goes online, sidewalk information must be set free. See also: Three Reasons Why I Re-Blog the Highland Villager.] 



Headline: Council agrees to stadium plan; City commits to spending $18.4M on infrastructure
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: The City Council agreed to spend $18.4 million on new infrastructure in the Midway area on the block where the soccer stadium is being built. The infrastructure list [buried at the very end of the article for some reason] includes storm sewers, public green space, new streets, sidewalks and bike lanes. [What a boondoggle. J/K.  The important thing for me is, what are you spending the money on? Is it for parking ramps and bulldozing historic buildings or for sidewalks, sewers, and bike lanes? Will it serve a larger public? Will it lead to urban agglomeration that catalyzes investment in the surrounding neighborhood? There's a big difference.] CMs Bostrom and Prince voted against the spending, preferring to delay by a week to get an independent analysis. CM Prince wants to see a parking and transportation study, which will not be done for a few weeks. Other CMs want to act sooner in order to get permission from the legislature for the building. Article includes shiny stadium rendering. [No offense, but it's one of the more ridiculous renderings I've seen. And I've seen a lot of them. It looks like round version of the spaceship from Flight of the Navigator sitting in a giant field with zombie people walking towards it because they have been mind controlled.] Quote from CM Noecker: "We're counting on the stadium to catalyze development." [Yes they are! This spending should be seen in context of the previous plans to redevelop the Midway site, which also would have involved large public spending on things like new streets only without a catalyst that cranked and accelerated the "payoff" in terms of tax revenue, added density, and activity on this ultra-important corner. For a vision of what the site might look like without any city help, witness the CVS building across the street.] Neighbors are concerned about traffic and parking. There are no firm commitments about the development side of the picture, but there are assurances from the team owner and the strip mall owner. [There's a lot of not-necessarily-substantiated faith that the development stuff will happen. But the city / Met Council literally had no workable plan to develop the site without spending $30M on a parking ramp, IIRC.] Quote from concerned neighbor: "I don't know why we'd want to put any more congestion there." [Congestion is a state of mind.] Soccer hooligans attended the meeting. Chamber and business types like the plans. Quote from sports guy: "this is a sport that's about as egalitarian as you can get." [He's forgetting the timeless and universal sport of complaining about traffic and parking. Also, boxing, which is very egalitarian. Also, nobody knows how much or if any environmental cleanup will be involved, like for example grease from the Chinese restaurant.] There will be a new 300-space parking lot constructed at Pascal and St. Anthony for soccer employees. There will be no surface lots, if parking is built. The soccer team controls the naming rights for the LRT station, which they are going to "expand and improve." [What the heck does that mean, anyway? The LRT station is only 2 years old, right? What are they going to improve? Skyway bridge crap like the Vikings? Not on my watch. Soccer-themed public art? Ugh. Leave the light rail alone.]


Headline: Still controversial Cleveland bike lanes get one last herring [Oops, that's a typo, it should read "smearing"]
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A bike lane will be striped along Cleveland Avenue, along with a few new parking spots where the sidewalk and boulevard used to be. [Yawn. Something about permit parking or something I don't know.] Neighbors are concerned about traffic and parking.


Headline: Workshop gives public chance to weigh in on UST master plan
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: St. Thomas is doing a new "master plan" for their campus, and people can weigh in. [Ankle bracelets for first-years? Bibs?] People have to pre-register and give their address. Architects are involved. There are campus boundaries and city permits that regulate building heights and many other details. Neighbors are concerned about Tommies and parking.


Headline: Policy Advisory Committee refines Riverview Corridor transit study; But five Mississippi River crossings are still in the mix
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Someday there might be high-quality transit from downtown to the airport/Ford site along West 7th Street, and it will have to cross the river somehow. The Committee might decide "as early as this summer." They might build a new bridge but they might not, and it might or might not involve demolishing existing buildings. Someone wanted to add a potential new bridge just South of the Ford Bridge but that idea was nixed. Neighbors are concerned about noise. The West 7th neighborhood group "passed a resolution in January opposing the railroad right-of-way as well as West Seventh for any dedicated transitway." [Well that's opposed to just about everything, then, is it not?]


Headline: MPR, Met Council settle for $3.5M over light-rail disruptions; Radio station will use settlement to resolve problems with noise and vibrations
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: Some [very long-wave difficult to hear] vibrations got into the radio studio and MPR sued and now they have settled the lawsuit. [See also: the UMN lawsuits.] The [aforementioned] Riverview transit might also go near the studio. [Foreshadowing!]


Headline: Lexington's reopening moves closer with committee support
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: An old fancy restaurant that's been closed for a long time might open again with new owners. There will be a patio on the roof. [There are not enough patios on roofs in this town.] Neighbors are concerned about privacy, noise, and parking. There is a debate about exactly what time the booze or rooftop will cease. An "acoustic engineer" will be involved. Strange parking dynamic: whether or not valet parking will be mandatory. [HAND ME THOSE KEYS SIR I AM TAKING YOUR CAR WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT. Interesting dynamic. Mandatory valet parking. Maybe Saint Paul could solve all its longstanding parking problems by making valet parking mandatory across the entire city, roving bands of valets parking cars for people unable to walk the block or so it requires to park the car oneself. Plus it could be a workforce/makework type of thing, providing much needed jobs to people who can drive and walk but might not have stable employment.] Article includes extensive discussion about valet parking. [This is a classic first-world problem.] The building is being remodeled and there's a room inside called the "Williamsburg Room."


Headline: SHA favors liquor license, patio seating for Starbucks on Grand; If approved by city, coffee shop could become first in area to serve beer and wine
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: There will be booze at the Starbucks. [OK booze patios: Starbucks. Questionable booze patios: Wild Onion, Lexington.] There will not be booze in "to-go cups." [New Orleans, this is not.]


Headline: Superior Street townhouses sold
Author: Jane McClure

Short short version: A bunch of buildings with older people living in it were recently sold. There is/was TIF money involved in the project. The idea is to keep the buildings affordable rather than market-rate.



[This Villager re-cap completed while listening to Verdi's Aida.]

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